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Forty-Eight X: The Lemuria Project by Barry Pollack

Forty-eight X


A colonel with a shadowy past . . .

A new kind of war and warrior . . .

A military science experiment out of control . . .
On the tropical island of Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the United States has gathered together its most talented scientists to conduct top secret experiments. Their goal—to create a revolutionary new warrior, a warrior so strong, so valiant, so expendable that the age of “casualties of war” becomes only a sad and distant memory. And so, the Lemuria Project is brought to life - by a Nobel laureate in genetics and a three-star general seeking redemption in a past, long lost and forgotten, where the human race had once reached a greater spiritual plane.

Haunted by a dark and dangerous past, Colonel Link McGraw is the officer chosen to train and lead these special "soldiers.” In the course of battles to renew his tattered reputation, he above all knows what constitutes the perfect soldier. It’s simple: Follow orders, command decisively, make no excuses and have no regrets.

When Egyptian beauty Fala al Shohada and Israeli Joshua Krantz, romantically paired archeologists, stumble across the top secret project, they are determined to uncover its true nature and pursue their quest to Diego Garcia. Science and politics clash over the poject as do Krantz and McGraw who vie for Fala's affection. When they discover they aren’t the only ones on the island competing for her attention, shocking truths are revealed.

The future of the human race comes to a crossroads on Lemuria. Will mankind find there its loftier spirit or become a lesser species in earth's evolution?

Barry Pollack, who still works in the frontline trenches of medicine as an ER doctor, has a creative life that spans a variety of venues. After a master’s degree in film from Stanford and a fellowship at the American Film Institute, he began as a documentary filmmaker and went on to write and direct two feature films — MGM’s Cool Breeze in 1972 and the Fanfare release This is a Hijack in 1973. In 1980, Pollack graduated from the University of Oklahoma Medical School and began a new career as an emergency physician. However, he never stopped writing. Pollack’s subsequent work includes several prime time television dramas, such as Trapper John, M.D. and Hotel, magazine short stories, several screenplays, and ten years of newspaper columns for the Ventura County STAR in California. Forty-Eight X, his debut novel, was published by Medallion Press in December 2009.

Read the excerpt

“The history of men at war is writ large with stories of heroes,” General Shell had said before sending him off, “stories of young men who fight and often die for noble, sometimes ignoble causes. Their actions sometimes elevate them to superhuman or biblical status. They become the legend of an overmatched David defeating a Goliath; a blind and bound Samson defeating the haughty Philistines. But remember glory is fleeting and the ends of war for survivors are most often filled with nightmares, with trinkets of ribbons and medals, and uniforms which will soon no longer fit.” The general then paused fitfully. “Put an end to it, Link,” he said, pressing on McGraw the firmest of handshakes.

That farewell speech reminded McGraw of his own heroes:

Sidney Coulter, Eagle scout, valedictorian, age 19, died in battle, Amsar, Afghanistan.
Jaime Garza, Mexican immigrant, father of two, age 24, died by RPG, Ramal.
Richard Neilson, car salesman, poker player extraordinaire, age 20, died by IED, Baghdad.

There were plenty, too many, more. Perhaps with this success, he thought, there would soon be no more.

McGraw had made one adjustment on the eve of battle that he knew his general would have frowned upon. He had given each of his troops a shot of brandy. Not enough to get drunk but enough to slightly dull the frontal cortex that controls executive functioning, that area of the brain that breeds doubt. A little alcohol, he believed, allowed one to think more simply, to dull the noises on the periphery. He took his own swig of the red from his canteen. He too needed to dull his doubts.

The village he was attacking was a terrorist camp and the men there were not novices and not innocent. They were well trained soldiers who had killed many times before. They not only professed that they were unafraid to die, but that they were eager to die for their cause.


This is the first military action thriller.

I was impressed how I was actually kept by the story and Barry's writing. I say this because I am trying new genres and normally would run, far and fast, from anything that wasn't Romance or Suspense or Romantic Suspense. I really enjoyed Barry's debut novel.

This was a good and quick read. Very catching and a real thinker! I've walked away wondering about a lot of things...

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